Bill would shield companies that sell SC execution drugs

    By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Companies that sell execution drugs to South Carolina would be kept secret under proposed legislation.

    A bill introduced last week would officially add drug companies to the state's execution team and require that their identities be kept secret. The proposal would also exempt the companies from state health and purchasing rules.

    South Carolina has run out of one of its three lethal injection drugs and cannot find anyone willing to sell more. Corrections officials have said they hope legislation like this will make companies less reluctant to sell drugs like pentobarbital, its missing anesthetic.

    Similar problems elsewhere have forced states to consider alternatives, including the electric chair and nitrogen gas. Electrocution is still legally acceptable in South Carolina, but an inmate must request that method two weeks before execution.

    Kinnard can be reached at

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